Horrorfest VIII: Strange Tales of Terror

It’s that time of the year again!

It is time for Horrorfest VIII!

HORRORFEST!!!!!!

31 Days of horror, suspense, mystery, gothic tales, Alfred Hitchcock, psycho killers, ghosts, murder, dystopian futures, monsters, and more!

I love film and here’s my chance to share it with you all.

A couple years ago I put Jane Austen in a costume and added it to my Horrorfest traditions. This year I choose to dress her up in a skull mask for Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos. As you know I’m Latino and that is a part of the way people celebrate those who have passed on. This year both my grandmother died in the beginning of the year, while one of my best friends died last month. While I can’t paint my face, my skin allergies, I can honor them in this way. Along with Jane!

Well, I hope you enjoy this year’s picks!

To start Horrorfest from the beginning, go to I Don’t Belong in the World: Carnival of Souls (1962)

To start Horrorfest II from the beginning, go to There Are Many Strange Legends in the Amazon: The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

To start Horrorfest IV from the beginning, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

To start Horrorfest VI from the beginning, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

To start Horrorfest VII from the beginning, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

Once, There Was Even a Man Who Had Scissors for Hands: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

So every year we review a Vincent Price film. Here we go!

Once, there was even a man who had scissors for hands

What?

Yes I said that right, Vincent Price.

Many of you may not know this, but this was Vincent Price’s last film. When I first saw this, I actually knew about Vincent Price than Johnny Depp.

In fact Vincent Price was supposed to have more screentime, but unfortunately was very ill at and they had to cut back on those scenes. Sad for us.

We didn’t get as much

This also fills another yearly notch, a Tim Burton film.

I have always loved Edward Scissorhands

So let’s not wait any longer. On with the review.

So the film starts off with a grandma, Kim Boggs (Winona Ryder) telling her granddaughter a story-of a man with scissors for hands.

Flashback years ago-Peg Boggs is the Avon lady, along with being kindest and sweetest woman ever. She tries to sell in her Suburban neighborhood but none are interested.

She’s finally reached the end of her rope-but then spots the creepy, spooky castle that exists at the end of the block. She decides to go in there and that is when everything changes.

Inside the worn and crumbling mansion-which she enters by herself! Very unsafe-and meets Edward.

Edward was created by the Inventor, but is unfinished-he still has scissors for hands.

Peg feels bad for him and takes him home with her-he meets her husband Bill (Alan Arkin), who is completely checked out and doesn’t see or hear anything, and son Kevin. Kevin is fascinated by Edward and wants to show him off.

That’s awesome

As many times as I have watched this I am just amazed with the character of Peg. She reminds me of the mom in My Boyfriend’s Back, but sweeter, kinder, and not nearly as psychotic. She is always encouraging and helping Edward.

Peg Boggs: Are you alone? Do you live up here all by yourself? What happened to your face? No, I won’t hurt you. But at the very least, let me give you a good astringent. And this will help to prevent infection. What’s your name?

Edward: Edward.

Peg Boggs: Edward… I think you should just come home with me.

And if anyone tries to say anything about him, she will go mama bear on them.

Audience Member #3: But if you had regular hands you’d be like everyone else.

Edward: Yes, I know.

Host-TV: I think he’d like that.

Audience Member #4: Then no one would think you’re special. You wouldn’t be on TV or anything.

Peg Boggs: No matter what, Edward will always be special.

So Pegg let’s Edward stay in her daughter’s room while she is camping with friends on her waterbed. Really Peg, he has scissors for hands!

Anyways, the neighbors are fascinated and want to take a look at him, forcing themselves on them with a BBQ.

Edward starts trying to get used to living with people. If you carefully watch Edward in the beginning he is moving his hands all over-but as he watches the others and as the movie progresses learns to better control his hands and be more humanlike.

And I do have to say I like the costume of Edward. I like Buster Keaton look carrying over from Benny & Joon and his Cure/Tim Burton-inspired hair. It wouldn’t always work, but it does on him.

So Edward is a hit, especially after he starts creating colorful topiaries.

Kim returns home from her trip in the mountains with her boyfriend Jim (Anthony Michael Hall). The first time I saw this-I didn’t recognize him. I don’t what he did but he went from major nerd in the ’80s to playing football jocks in the ’90s. I  always think if him as being one of the lucky three who were able to go from “nerd” to “heartthrob”-him, John Cusack, and Patrick Dempsey.

Kim returns home after “camping” and goes to her room-only to find Edward. Proof why scissors and waterbeds don’t work out.

From lawns Edward goes into animal haircuts.

And here he becomes an even bigger sensation. But not everyone loves him.

Poor Edward-hopefully in love with Kim and he really is. At this time Depp and Ryder starting dating and even got engaged-and you can just see in his eyes how much he cares for her. In fact, re-watching it this time I realize they spend hardly any screentime together, but can carry the romance in their looks, body language, tone, etc.

Here is where we get a slight look into Tim Burton. The eccentric, weird kid in love with the cheerleader but the jock keeping them apart? Hmm…

Anyways, Edward keeps trying. Kevin takes him to school for show-and-tell, he is always there to lend a blade, and then begins haircuts.

Edward Scissorhands in Wonderland

In fact the scene when he first cuts hair is a wink at Sweeney Todd, which Tim Burton and Johnny Depp would make years later.

The sweetest thing is when Edward is going to cut Peg’s hair-he makes it extra special and neat for her-his mom. Aw.

Very cute

With all this Edward goes on TV and the idea of opening his own business is brought up.

Neighbor Joyce is going to help and takes him to the area where they will be having the salon. She then strips and assaults him. Edward flees and Joyce is very upset.

I’m out!

Peg is going to help Edward and takes him to the bank-but here is where I realize I am an adult. I mean I know I am one, after all I’m six and twenty-but here is where I KNOW. My first response was how will he get a loan? He has no social security card, birth certificate, anything. Poor Edward is sad and they are unsure what to do next.

Now let me take a moment here and just go over Vincent Price’s role in the film. Throughout the movie we have flashbacks to when Edward was first created. The Inventor (Vincent Price) has an assembly line making cookies. As he enjoys them he gets the idea to make his son-Edward.

I love these scenes as they are so endearing and said. What would have been if the creator lived. I love Vincent Price’s voice as well. I could just listen to him speak for hours.

One day Kim forgets her key and they are locked out of the house. Edward opens the door by picking the lock and Jim gets the idea to use Edward to rob his house. You see JIm is a Neanderthal that instead of getting a job to get his own car wants his dad to do it. And if dad refuses-well then the only way is to rob his house. What a baby-WAH BOO HOO I can’t get my way let’s make dad pay for it.

They lie to Edward that a guy stole Jim’s stuff and want to get it back. Kim feels bad and wants to stop, but they don’t listen to her. Instead-they go but when the alarm goes off abandon him.

Kim is angry wanting to go back, but they don’t listen to her and she doesn’t do anything. Now I like Kim, but she never tells the truth. It makes me so angry-all this awful things keep happening to Edward afterwards and they could have stopped it if she had just told the truth.

Very disappointed in you Kim.

So Edward is taken to jail and held until Peg and Bill can pick him up. After that he is a pariah. No one wants to be around him, have him cut their lawn, dog, or hair.

Kim gets angry with Jim, but he just taunts her with how she hasn’t said anything. Edward sees this and becomes even more angry as he did it for Kim and she is still with the jerk.

He gets depressed and ruins his creations-he also gets angsty and messes up the walls.

Peg is awesome-she continues to be there for Edward. She has him keep giving her haircuts to make him feel better. Se sweet.

So cute

All comes to a head on Christmas. Edward and Kim have grown closer. He works on an ice sculpture and accidentally nicks Kim. Jim comes and chases Edward off who goes on a rage destroying shrubbery.

Kim is done with Jim and he storms off drinking with his friend.

Kim’s hand is taken care of by her mom and it wasn’t a serious wound just a small one. They worry about Edward and go off to find him leaving Kim to wait in case he comes back or the neighbors come for the party.

Edward returns and they have a good moment, broken when a drunken Jim comes racing down the street and almost hits Kevin. Edward runs and pushes Kevin out of the way before he gets killed. But by doing so nicks Kevin, especially as Kevin doesn’t know what is going on.

Jim comes and tries to attack Edward, who nicks him too. Edward then storms off-followed by Kim. Meanwhile like in every monster movie the neighborhood storms together creating a mob to converge on Edward.

mob

Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

In the mansion Kim approaches Edward, ecstatic that he is alive, but just like in Beauty and the Beast, Jim the jerk followed them and tries to kill Edward. He was going to shoot him-but Kim intercedes. Edward had not planned on doing anything-but when Jim slaps Kim he becomes angry and stabs Jim-throwing him out the window.

Kim and Edward see the dead body and know the mob won’t stop until Edward is dead. Kim kisses Edward and says good-bye.

Noooo!

Downstairs, the people are calling for Edward’s blood. Kim notices a machine and grabs a scissorhand-using it as proof that Edward is dead. She tells them it is all over.

This scene definitely has a Nightmare on Elm Street feel to it with the scissors-which Johnny Depp is also in.

That ends it and all goes back to how it should be-except the Boggs family. Years pass and they all move on-but Kim always remembers Edward.

And Edward never forgets her. His garden growing and he’s making an ice sculpture of Kim to grace his garden.

Such a great story with a gentle sweet character. I love this film and could just continue to watch it over and over again.

And this little extra for you guys!

To start Horrorfest VII from the beginning, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For the previous post, go to Do You Ever Feel Like Your Life Has Turned into Something You Never Intended?: Nocturnal Animals (2016)

For more Edward Scissorhands, go to I Did It for You: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

For more Tim Burton, go to He’s Married to a Corpse. He Has A Corpse Bride!: Corpse Bride (2005)

For more Vincent Price, go to They’re Coming for Me Now…And Then They’ll Come for You: House on Haunted Hill (1959)

For more Johnny Depp, go to It was a Horseman, a Dead One. Headless: Sleepy Hollow (1999)

For more Winona Ryder, go to 25 Films of Christmas

For more Anthony Michael Hall, go to Don’t You Forget About Me

For more teen monster films, go to I Died for You! I Came Back from the Dead for You! I Love You!: My Boyfriend’s Back (1993)

Is Christine the Ultimate Femme Fatale?

As this is Noir November #Noirvember, I thought it was no better time to talk about one of the top classic femme fatale.

I hate Christine, I think she was a horrid little urgh.

wordICan't say Toy Story

And I don’t use that lightly. First we see her all upset at Raul for being rude and condemning Erik

“Why do you condemn a man who you have never seen, whom no one knows about and whom you yourself know nothing?” (pg. 104)

But then she’s like I’m so scared of him. Aaah! She makes him sound evil, even though the story is hardly anything.

She heard this wonderful voice and begs him to teach her.

“From that time onward, the voice and I became great friends.” (pg. 116)

They spend years together as the phantom puts his all into teaching her and helping her. Then one day Christine spots Raoul and tells the phantom all about seeing him. And the voice disappears, Christine is anxious and scared. She knows she is nothing without him, she will shrivel up into a has-been.

The next day the Phantom comes and tells her he has to leave her.

“The voice was there, spoke to me with great sadness and told me plainly that, if I must bestow my heart on earth, there was nothing for the voice to do but go back to heaven.” (pg. 117)

You see, no threats. No harsh words. The Phantom would have simply backed off if she loved another. He would be heartbroken, but that would be the end of it. Except…

“I swore to the voice that you were no more than a brother to me nor ever would be and that my heart was incapable of any earthly love.” (pg. 117)

You see that!!!! You see that!!!

What???!!!

She purposely leads on the Phantom because she just wants to use him. She doesn’t love him, she doesn’t care for him, as she has stated before:

“[to Raoul] And that, dear, first revealed to me that I loved you.”

She knew, but she had a good thing and didn’t want to see it disappear. Now she tells Raoul that she “lied only because she thought she had no chance with Raoul.” But is that even the truth? She already admitted to playing the Phantom, she’s probably playing Raoul too. He’s rich and interested, and now she’s going to play the little helpless victim to catch him.

you're evil

So you know what, I never feel sorry for her. She created this whole mess as she only cared about herself and not what her false declarations did to people. She almost kills hundreds because of her selfishness. I feel bad for the Phantom. Poor guy, who is completely crushed by her. He picked the wrong woman.

Poor guy

And she goes on about being captured by a madman and held prisoner, BUT he treats her well. He respects her as a thing of beauty and doesn’t harm her or touch her. And when she is upset and wants to leave?

“And, when I stood up, Raoul, and told him that I could only despise him if he did not, then and there, give me my liberty…he offered it…” (pg. 125)

See he isn’t a crazy killer or psychotic (yet). He loves her and respects her wishes. She’s the viper, she’s evil as she chooses to stay there.

“For he sang. And I listened…and stayed!” (pg. 125)

Seriously?

So she falls asleep and then wakes up in a whole different room, properly freaked. BUT then spots a note left to her by the Phantom.

“My dear Christine, you need have no concern as to your fate. You have no better nor more respectful friend in the world than myself.” (pg. 126)

Wow

He just let her alone, as he sees her as the kindest and most divine woman; respecting her. He also purchases tons of things for her in order to make the place truly home.

But Christine is not happy. She wants out. She is angry with the Phantom, even though she is packed with beautiful gifts. All she wants is to see his face as “no honest man would wear a mask.” But that is the one place Erik won’t give.

Then Erik mentions how most of her time with him will be musical practice. She is angry as he wants her to stay five days, then he will let her go again as she will either love him (hope) or pity him. But Christine is now upset that he won’t let her go now, but hey he offered you before.

Seriously

The real issue Christine has with the Phantom is his skull-like face. This is what breaks her and makes her horrified and disgusted.She can’t live well enough alone, and asks him to play for her, plotting her deception. When he is too worked up in the music she snatches the mask off. 

She tells Raoul this as each visit “increased her horror.”

Now what’s really interesting is after Christine has told her tale, Raoul asks her:

“You are frightened…but do you love me? If Erik were good-looking, would you love me, Christine?” (pg. 132)

Hmm…

And what does Christine say? Does she say NEVER, I don’t love him I LOVE YOU? No. Does she say that Erik is a horrible person, and she could never love him? No. Now what does she say?

“She rose in her turn, and put her two trembling arms round the young man’s neck and said: ‘Oh my betrothed of a day, if I did not love you, I would not give you my lips! Take them, for the first time and the last.” (pg. 132)

You see that!!! You see that!!! SHE NEVER ANSWERS THE QUESTION!!!! And you know why???!!! Because the answer is NO! She don’t love you Raoul, she’s using you just as she used Erik. She could have easily answered she loved you, but instead she deflected the question and gave you a kiss. I hate when people do that, urgh!

Let me tell you something, if you ever are having a serious and deep conversation with someone and they deflect you with a kiss, hug, sex, whatever, you need to get out of that relationship because they are not serious about you. Should’ve seen it Raoul, except you were to busy focusing on that kiss that you missed it.

Meanwhile, Christine, the little actress starts playing Erik to the areas he has been insecure. She tells him that he is genius, his music causes her to forget his looks. She even burns his mask to symbolize that she is “above” such things. In reality she is playing him  from every angle, earning his trust so that he is willing to believe she actually loves him and won’t harm him. Letting her go.

Christine acts as if he is a true monster, but the Phantom has a compassionate heart. She asks if she can pretend to “be engaged”, playacting, with Raoul and the Phantom agrees.

“He said, ‘I trust you, Christine. M. de Chagny [Raoul] is in love with you and going abraod. Before he goes, I want him to be as happy as I am.” (pg. 134)

How can someone be unfeeling and a loser when they consider what their arch rival’s is feeling?

See Erik isn’t the monster, Christine is! She just goes and destroys two men’s lives-never thinking about them or how it affect them; all she cares is about her self.

Yeah, that’s why I hate Christine Daaé.

For more on The Phantom of the Opera, go to President of the “I Don’t Like Raoul Fanclub”

For more on Christine Daaé, go to Le Fantôme de l’Opéra

For more femme fatales, go to That Girl is Poison

Welcome to a New World of Gods and Monsters: The Mummy (2017)

Welcome to a new world of gods and monsters.

So I love The Mummy (1932)

And The Mummy (1999)

But this one was horrible!

Ugh.

The plot made no sense at all!!!

Help me! I’m confused!

There was no cool Egyptian stuff or history or action at all. It didn’t even take place in Egypt but in England!

And they threw in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and didn’t explain why:

This is pretty much how I felt through the whole film:

It was just horrible from beginning to end, didn’t explain, and I didn’t care about any of the characters. I’d rather watch him:

Or him:

Or her:

Or her:

Any day.

To start Horrorfest VI from the beginning, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For the previous post, go to What Do They Want You For? Murder: Silver Streak (1976)

For more mummy films, go to A Modern Mummy: Under Wraps (1997)

For more Tom Cruise, go to Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes

For The Mummy (1932), go to Eternal Punishment for Anyone Who Opens This Casket: The Mummy (1932)

For more Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, go to Man-Bat: On Leather Wings, Batman the Animated Series (1992)

For more sucky films, go to Have You Seen Megan Hipwell?: The Girl On the Train (2016)

For more sucky remakes, go to Dracula. Not Myth, Nor Ravings of a Mad Irish Novelist, Oh No, He’s Real: Dracula 2000 (2000)

Jason’s Out There… Watching… Ready to Kill… Thirsty for Young Blood: Friday the 13th, Part II (1981)

And if you listen to the old-timers in town, they’ll tell you he’s still out there, some sort of demented creature, surviving in the wilderness, full grown by now… stalking…Jason’s out there… watching… always on the prowl for intruders… ready to kill… ready to devour… thirsty for young blood.

So today is Friday the 13th!

And you know what that means! Time for one of my traditions!

Suit up in Ghostbusters’ clothing!

That’s how I roll

Pick up some pizza:

And watch some horror films!!!!

And of course as this isFriday the 13th in October, you all know exactly which film I will be reviewing.

Yep, this is the whole reason why I moved all the TV episodes to Tuesdays. So I could review Friday the 13th on Friday the 13th.

I was so busy with my movie marathon:

That I wasn’t able to post my review in time. I will be updating soon though. Promise! Until then:

And if you listen to the old-timers in town, they’ll tell you he’s still out there, some sort of demented creature, surviving in the wilderness, full grown by now… stalking…Jason’s out there… watching… always on the prowl for intruders… ready to kill… ready to devour… thirsty for young blood.

So you all know how I don’t like sequels:

But I decided to watch this and surprised myself in enjoying it more than I thought.

Slow down everyone, I haven’t changed that much. I didn’t say that I loved it, but I did enjoy it a lot more than I thought I wouldSo the film starts off with a review of what happened at the end of the original Friday the 13thWhen the real killer’s identity was discovered, the fight, almost drowning in the lake, etc.

Pamela Voorhees: [high voice] Kill her, Mommy! Kill her! Don’t let her get away, Mommy! Don’t let her live!
[normal voice]
Pamela Voorhees: I won’t, Jason. I won’t!

It has been two months since then, and Alice has been horrified with nightmares and flashbacks. One night she has had a bad one when Jason comes and kills her.

Why is Jason so old? In the first one he died as a child. If he becomes a ghost/monster/zombie thingy-why is he so old? He should have stayed a child. Like in the original film.

Friday the 13th (1980)

They never say why, just that he never died fully and was living on his own in the woods hunting, etc. But if he never died, than why was his mother so angry and trying to get revenge on the people who caused her son’s death. The fact that he is still alive ruins all the motivations and stuff from the first.

I will say, that Jason may be a crazy, psycho, serial killer-but he is courteous. After he kills Alice he turns off the kettle that Alice was using to make tea. That was nice of him.

Oh, well

Five years pass and Paul is a camp director, having called in the new recruits. He’s training them in the basics before the summer season starts. They aren’t at Camp Crystal Lake, like in the original, but right next door. Paul warns them of the story of Jason, but doesn’t believe in him or the things he “did”.

The next night some of the counselors go out to party in the town bar, while others have to stay behind. Two of them got caught by the police checking out Camp Blood, one guy is in a wheelchair and in training for the olympics, one girl wants to do with the olympic guy, one girl is searching for her dog, and the last guy is there to try and make it with one of the girls. Of course, Jason starts taking them all out one by one.

The reason why I liked this film was that the characters were actually not too dumb, and you felt bad that they died. I mean there was still sex scenes (this is Friday the 13th), Vicky walks around outside in her underwear to get something from the car (why?), and one of the ladies wears a shirt and shorts that cover nothing and walks around naked for a chunk of time.

But while I only cared for like two in the other film, in this one I was sad each time they were taken out.

So sad

But then Paul and his assistant Ginny come back. I don’t know why, but Jason doesn’t kill Paul-he knocks him out. Ginny has to run from him and she is hardcore. She attacks him, tries to trick him into thinking she’s his mother, and does the final knockout. Pretty sweet!

But the end is weird. Did Paul die? Why didn’t Jason kill Ginny? What’s real and what is a dream?

To start Horrorfest VI from the beginning, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For the previous post, go to A Survivor… Unclouded By Conscience, Remorse, or Delusions of Morality: Alien (1979)

For more on Friday the 13th, go to Tuesday the 17th: Psych (2009)

For more camp movies, go to Someone Very Special: The Addam’s Family Values (1993)

For more on the holiday Friday the 13th, go to Don’t Fear the Reaper

For more slasher films, go to Have You Checked the Children: When a Stranger Calls (1979)

For more serial killers, go to Is She Mrs. X?: So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)

For more sequels, go to I Don’t Kill People Anymore: Psycho II (1983)

For more ’80s films, go to China is Here Mr. Burton. The Chang Sing, The Wing Kong, They’ve Been Fighting for Centuries: Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

Something’s Scratching at the Window

The other day I woke up at four in the morning, having fallen asleep while watching TV, with an upset stomach. It turned out to be pre-period cramps.

 

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

As I knew it was going to be impossible to go back to sleep right away, I decided to go to the bathroom and brush my teeth, wash my face, maybe do a mask or scrub, etc.-until the pain passed. While I was in the bathroom I heard a noise that went like this:

Scritch, scritch, scritch, scrith…

It sounded as if something was clawing under the window.

So the window in the bathroom is really old. It is a slat window that has to be opened with a lever, and because of its age it never shuts completely. And the acoustics are really good there as people who are across the yard sound as if they are right next to you.

Ugh.

So at first I wasn’t freaked out. I figured it must be a raccoon or possum or something just digging around in the yard or on a trash can.

Meh.

But then I heard it again and it was louder…and it wouldn’t stop…and it sounded like it was right next to me.

Ahhh!

For a split second my mind went to there is a monster out there:

In fact it made me think of that old “scary” story that everyone told at slumber parties; where the two people are stranded in a car and the boyfriend leaves to go for help. While he is gone the girlfriend continuously hears a scratch, scratch, scratch (or tap, tap, tap) while the boyfriend is gone. In the end, a psycho has been scratching at her car or the boyfriend has been killed and his body is hanging overhead.

I’m sure you’ve heard one of the versions of it.

So yes, I went there but then I bounced back. I was certain it was no big deal and going to scare off whatever animal was making that noise.

The gun is a metaphor. I wasn’t going to shoot any animals.

I was just about to walk out of the bathroom and go check outside when something jumped into the window!!!!!!!!!!

And then I saw clawed fingers poking into the cracks of the window!!!!!!!

And I have to admit:

But then this thing started to meow angrily.

And my brain realized that the clawed fingers were just the clawed paws of my cat. Lack of sleep, cramps, it being early morning, whatever-had made me not realize that the hands I saw were tiny cat paws not monster hands.

Yes, since I had fallen asleep watching TV, I didn’t bring my cat in and I guess she heard me in the bathroom, or saw the light-but somehow figured out I was in there and was trying to get my attention to let her in.

But hey, I will take being trolled by my cat over a real psychopath (or rodent) scratching under my window any day.

For more of my scary adventures, go to A Bump in the Night

For more on cats, go to Cat Lovers All Know This

For more stories from my everyday life, go to Road Rage

If this stokes your appetite for horror, check out Horrorfest, Horrorfest II, Horrorfest  III, Horrorfest IV, & Horrorfest V

Le Fantôme de l’Opéra

Day 20) T is for Translated: Choose a book that was Translated from one language to English

PhantomoftheOpera

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Yes, I know I said I wouldn’t talk about this book. However, as I was trying to think of books I like that were originally in another language, I couldn’t think of anything but this book and Jules Verne’s novels.

whatdoyouthinkTwilightzoneRealmartianpleasestandup

I already reviewed two Verne books, so with nothing else coming to mind, I decided to review The Phantom of the Opera.

phantom of the opera underground lair water boat

Gaston Leroux studied to be a lawyer, but when his father died, he found himself a millionaire. He immediately quit school and went on a big spending/gambling spree losing everything.

tomorrowisanotherdaygonewiththewind

Afterwards, he began to work for a newspaper, doubling as a court reporter and a drama critic. As he toured the opera, ballets, plays, etc.; and heard different stories about what went on in the theaters, it gave him an idea.

ooh!

With that he published The Phantom of the Opera as a serial from 1909-1910, being translated and published in English in 1911. The story is told from the viewpoint of an interviewer as he researches his subject and tries to tell the history of this Phantom.

Phantom of the Opera

Growing up I just loved this book so much. I used to check out the children’s version again and again; graduating to the unabridged when I grew older.

SadBookEndedfinishedover

So here I am going to do a slightly different post, I am going to focus on one character: the Phantom.

phantom-of-the-opera organ

I just love him:

idealmanphantomoftheopera

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Erik is a wanderer. After being hurt by so many he no longer considers him as having an nationality or family.

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His pain originates from when he was a child and his own parents were too disgusted to see his “true form.”

“When my own father never saw me and when my mother, so as not to see me, made me a present of my first mask.” (pg. 130)

Aw, man.

Aw, man.

He is so often used to being considered as death, that he has even prepared him room as such. All in black and even sleeps in a coffin. How sad is that? Poor guy!

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But even in that ugliness and sadness there is beauty. He is a musical genius with a voice like no other.

“He heard a very captivating voice…Raoul had never heard anything more absolutely and heroically sweet, more gloriously insidious, more delicate, more powerful, in short, more irresistibly triumphant…nothing could describe the passion with which the voice sang…” (pg. 98)

Erik is very intelligent and has done many things before coming to the opera house and meeting Christine.

“You must not think, Raoul, that he [Erik] is simply a man who amuses himself by living underground. He does things that no man could do; he knows things which nobody in the world knows.” (pg. 135)

I mean he built THAT opera house and created numerous trap doors, spring sets, his own secret underground home. And that’s not the only thing he has created. He built palaces for Sultans and Kings; but always being betrayed by them as they want him dead so that they alone can posses his genius.

right in the feels broken heart

One day the Phantom comes upon Christine and decides to help assist her to become a fantastic singer.

“From that time onward, the voice and I became great friends.” (pg. 116)

They spend years together as the Phantom puts his all into teaching her and helping her. Then one day Christine spots Raoul and tells the phantom all about seeing him. And the voice disappears. Christine is anxious and scared. She knows she is nothing without him, she will shrivel up into a has-been.

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The next day the Phantom comes and tells her he has to leave her.

“The voice was there, spoke to me with great sadness and told me plainly that, if I must bestow my heart on earth, there was nothing for the voice to do but go back to heaven.” (pg. 117)

You see, no threats. No harsh words. The Phantom would have simply backed off if she loved another. He would be heartbroken, but that would be the end of it. Except…

“I swore to the voice that you were no more than a brother to me nor ever would be and that my heart was incapable of any earthly love.” (pg. 117)

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You see that!!!! You see that!!! She purposely leads on the Phantom because she just wants to use him. She doesn’t love him, she doesn’t care for him, as she has stated before:

“[to Raoul] And that, dear, first revealed to me that I loved you.” (pg. 117)

you're evil

She knew, but she had a good thing and didn’t want to see it disappear. Now she tells Raoul that she “lied only because she thought she had no chance with Raoul.” But is that even the truth? She already admitted to playing the Phantom, she’s probably playing Raoul too. He’s rich and interested, and now she’s going to play the little helpless victim to catch him.

hate her

So you know what, I never feel sorry for her. She created this whole mess as she only cared about herself and not what her false declarations did to people. She almost kills hundreds because of her selfishness. I feel bad for the Phantom. Poor guy, who is completely crushed by her. He picked the wrong woman.

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Then the Phantom carries her off underground into his home.

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Now I admit, his carrying her off wasn’t the right thing to do. He should have asked her instead of just carrying her like that. But what does he do next? He confesses that he isn’t an angel or teacher but that he is the Phantom of the Opera, its architect, etc.

“He [Erik] feels me with horror and I do not hate him. How can I hate him Raoul? Think of Erik at my feet…he accuses himself, he curses himself, he implores my forgiveness!…He loves me! He lays at my feet an immense and tragic love…He has carried me off for love!” (pg. 125)

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He treats her wonderfully. He respects her as a thing of beauty and doesn’t harm her or touch her. And when she is upset and wants to leave?

“And, when I stood up, Raoul, and told him that I could only despise him if he did not, then and there, give me my liberty…he offered it…” (pg. 125)

See he isn’t a crazy killer or psychotic (yet). He loves her and respects her wishes. She’s the viper, she’s evil as she chooses to stay there even though she doesn’t love him, she just wants to use him.

“For he sang. And I listened…and stayed!” (pg. 125)

She falls asleep and then wakes up in a whole different room, properly freaked. BUT then spots a note left to her by the Phantom.

“My dear Christine, you need have no concern as to your fate. You have no better nor more respectful friend in the world than myself.” (pg. 126)

He just let her alone, as he sees her as the kindest and most divine woman; respecting her. He also purchases tons of things for her in order to make the place truly home.

How sweet!

How sweet!

But Christine is not happy. She wants out. She is angry with the Phantom, even though he has given her everything! All she wants is to see his face as “no honest man would wear a mask.” But that is the one place Erik won’t give.

No thank youhowaboutno

Then Erik mentions how most of her time with him will be musical practice. She is angry as he wants her to stay five days, then he will let her go again as she will either love him (hope) or pity him. But Christine is now upset that he won’t let her go now, but hey he offered you before.

She cannot make up her mind.

She cannot make up her mind.

The real issue Christine has with the Phantom is his skull-like face. This is what breaks her and makes her horrified and disgusted. She can’t leave well enough alone, and asks him to play for her, plotting her deception. When he is too worked up in the music she snatches the mask off.

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Now she thinks he is disgusting, and here is where he makes his first incredibly bad decision.

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He tells Christine that he can’t let her go. He knows that she sees him only as a monster, and if returned to the surface would tell others of the “monster”, causing them to be riled up, create a mob, and set out to kill him.

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Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

Christine, the little actress she is, starts playing to the areas he has been insecure. She tells him that he is genius, his music causes her to forget his looks. She even burns his mask to symbolize that she is “above” such things. In reality she is playing him  from every angle, earning his trust so that he is willing to believe she actually loves him and won’t harm him. Letting her go.

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Christine acts as if he is a true monster, but the Phantom has a compassionate heart. She asks if she can pretend to “be engaged”, playacting, with Raoul and the Phantom agrees.

“He said, ‘I trust you, Christine. M. de Chagny [Raoul] is in love with you and going abroad. Before he goes, I want him to be as happy as I am.” (pg. 134)

How can someone be unfeeling when they consider what their arch rival’s feelings?

How sweet!

How sweet!

Eventually, the Phantom figures out the truth, that this was all a set up and steals Christine away; that final act of betrayal being the straw that broke the camels back.

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I mean he really believed that someone had fallen in love with him.

“It is my wish…my wish to let her go; and she will come again…for she loves me!…All this will end in marriage…” (pg. 206)

He thinks his dream and true love is in his grasp!

“…Now I want to live like everybody else. I want a wife like everybody else and to take her out on Sundays. I have invented a mask that makes me look like anybody…All I have ever wanted was to be loved for myself…” (214)

The thing I really hate about the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is how the changed the relationship between Christine and the Phantom with her thinking if him as her father and making Raoul less of the pansy he was. But most of all they make the Phantom a total psychi and murderer. He doesn’t really kill people in the book, unless it is for self-preservation. We only witness three: two were out trying to get him, and the third he accidentally kills Raoul’s brother, who when searching for him falls into a trap. The Phantom really regrets having killed him. And he also does bring the chandelier down, which injures and kills. How many, we don’t know.

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He then gives Christina an option. She can choose Raoul and the Opera house will be blown up (as Erik has hidden dynamite under the floor when he built it) or she can choose him and save everyone. I have to admit that forcing her to choose marrying him was not right or what she should do, but people who have been betrayed often do not think logically but just want to heart the person who hurt them.

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But in the end he let’s Christine go, because she finally gave him the one thing he has most wanted: companionship and love:

“I tell you I kissed her just like that, on her forehead…and she did not draw back her forehead from my lips! (pg. 247)

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Poor Erik!

“Poor, unhappy Erik! Shall we pity him? Shall we curse him? He asked only to be “some one,” like everybody else. But he was too ugly! And he had to hide his genius or use it to play tricks with, when, with an ordinary face, he would have been one of the most distinguished of mankind! He had a heart that could have held the empire of the world; and, in the end, he had to content himself with a cellar. Ah, yes, we must pity the opera ghost.” (pg. 259)

Leave me alone so I can cry over the death of my fictional characters

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 I think what resonates the most with this story is how relatable the Phantom was. Who of us hasn’t at one time hated how we looked?

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Had our heart broken:

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Been betrayed by someone we thought cared about us?

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Or felt we hadn’t received the recognition we deserved?

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What else can I say?

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Why yes I do!

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Starting in 2015, I decided to dress up “Jane Austen” in Halloween costumes. Check her out as the Bride of Frankenstein.

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Stupid Not to Read Jane Austen Quote

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to Each Illustration is a Little Story. If You Watch Them, In a Few Minutes They Tell You a Tale: The Illustrated Man

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For more on The Phantom of the Opera, go to How to Meet the Perfect Guy

For more on Gaston Leroux, go to Fantom of the Opera

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to Midnight in Austenland

For more Silverstein, go to The End by Silverstein

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Today’s carol is The First White Christmas from the claymation, The First Christmas:The Story of the First Christmas Snow.

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I couldn’t find any info on the song, but they play it in the opening and ending credits. I always thought it was cute, and it tends to get stuck in my head.

I couldn’t find a video unfortunately, or a good link to watch the film (as they took down the best one).

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For more on The First Christmas:The Story of the First Christmas Snow, go to 25 More Films of Christmas

For more Christmas Carols, go to She Struck Him as a Fixer-Upper, a Block of Clay Ready for Pygmalion’s Chisel: The Overnight Socialite